Throwback Thursday #2 – Sentimental Items

This Is the second week of the Throwback Thursday Memory BlogHop, hosted this week by Lauren. Click on the link to read about how to join in.

Today’s subject: Sentimental Pictures

What pictures were you gifted? Did you ask for them or was the gift a surprise? What did you decide to do with the pictures? Did you give them to other family members?  If you were not gifted pictures, were you given other sentimental items? Do you have any items you want to be passed down to family or friends? Have you already let them know what you will be giving them?

From the first moment I read the topic Lauren chose this week, my mind has been racing. I have been concerned as to how to keep the post a reasonable length and something someone would want to read. Sometimes I think I am a sentimental old fool and that maybe others cannot relate.

I love family photos, especially ancestral photographs. I have photos of many of my ancestors back several generations and sadly, no photos of some. You will find my blog peppered with those faces because I realize the family I created is the legacy they left behind. It is important to me that my children know from whence they came. As a result, I have created beautiful leather photo albums for them that span generations of both their parents’ families. I have a very large family tree built on Ancestry and it is filled with photos of my ancestors.

In addition to photographs, I also have other memorabilia passed down to me as members of my family passed away. When my sister, Rosie, passed away, her daughter gave me photo albums, family Bibles that contain birth, marriage, and death dates, and one of my most prized possessions is a binder of letters my grandmother wrote my aunt spanning a lifetime.

My grandmother was the center of communication for the family and the family historian. Everyone wrote her and she filtered all the news to everyone else which makes this collection a mini-history of my mother’s family, including the daily rituals of owning a farm and the trials and tribulations concerning the success or failure of raising crops.

Rosie was the family genealogist, so I also received a beautifully framed family crest of both sides of my maternal family line. It hangs proudly on my walls.

My niece has given me pieces of my Aunt’s Autumn Leaf dinnerware (purchased through the Jewel Tea company) that adorned the tables at all our family meals.

When my sister, BJ passed away, I received a few small items from her daughter. One that I cherish the most is a crystal art deco glass pendant that she bought for herself when she first struck out on her own – a sign of her independence.

I also have my grandmother’s stereoscope and a stack of stereograph photos that go with it. I spent countless hours as a child feeding my imagination looking at those photos of highly adorned ladies and far-off places.

My grandfather was a carpenter, and I have a side table he made out of ebony he brought back from the Philippines. The one thing I have tried so hard to find is a copy of his diaries from when he was living in the Philippines. I know someone in the family has them, but sadly, no one has been forthcoming to share them. I would love for my children to read them. I do have the letters he wrote my grandmother from the Philippines when they were dating. It is nice to ‘hear’ him share the love he had for her.

I have the hair from my father’s first haircut and one of his nightgowns. When my father passed away, my daughter and I jokingly wished it were possible to clone him from his hair. She would laugh and say, “Can you imagine it, mom? Raising him as a baby? No, no, Grandpa, put that down!” We both chuckled knowing it was not possible but wishing for more time with him.

I also have items of no intrinsic value that mean so much to me. A set of four decorative Oriental plates my friend MaryKay gave me, a teacup that contains plastic flowers sent to my mother when she was in the hospital, and a hand-painted glass vessel my mother-in-law gifted me.

As far as passing things along, I have already started that process. The first step was asking my children what they would like to have. My daughter has pieces of my mother’s jewelry, a large portrait of me she wanted, and my grandmother’s set of silver in a wooden box. My son the family Bible, a pocket knife, and a pocket watch.

Through these conversations with my children, I have learned that their childhood memories lie in things we shared together, not the things I shared with my parents and grandparents. I know they will want and will cherish some things, but I fear many items will be lost to thrift shops and auctions. My hope is regardless of where they end up, that someone will love them even if they cannot understand the significance.

Walking through antique shops and thrift stores, I find myself imagining the stories of those who once owned those items, wondering if they would be saddened knowing their possessions were now among a host of mismatched items on a long wooden table with no one knowing anything about them. I guess I am a sentimental old fool.

And if you know me, you know that I usually associate some music with almost every moment of my life. Being sentimental is no exception. Thank you, Lauren, for this chance to walk down memory lane.


28 thoughts on “Throwback Thursday #2 – Sentimental Items”

  1. When my mum diied, I found a small suitcase full of old family photos i her bedroom. Some years later, I organised a family dinner at a neutral venue in Kent, and took the case of photos along. The older family members were able to relive memories, and the younger ones got their first look at relatives they had never met, only heard about. It was a lovely day.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. What a lovely thing to do, Pete. So many photos are left behind unidentified. I am sure it was a lovely gathering.

      If I find a discarded photo that has identifying information, I ‘rescue’ it and try to track down living relatives. It can be very satisfying. I would love for someone to do that for me.

      Liked by 2 people

        1. Lauren’s post was lovely. I envy the ancestral photos she has and the history behind them. I am not sure younger generations have a full appreciation for them, however. At least I have found that to be the case.

          Liked by 2 people

          1. True – my son looked pretty underwhelmed when I showed him ‘his’ box containing all sorts of family photos and memorabilia from his school days. I assured him that one day he’d be very glad to have it and in the meantime he can leave it here.

            Liked by 2 people

          2. Yes, I have gotten a few of those glances. I laughed because my children told me to toss some old photos of their school years. When I was ready to do so, they backtracked and said they would like to look through them. They are still in my closet.

            Liked by 1 person

  2. I think we have a duty to preserve, and pass on, memories and artefacts, but it can sometimes be an an impossible task to pass them on to family. Inevitably some treasures will become mismatched items on a trestle table. I know of children who have cleared their parents home when they died by ordering skips (dumpsters) and throwing the vast majority of items away, not even sorting useful items to be donated to charity shops. Sadly, not an isolated incident in my own experience!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Peter, I had not thought about that, but you are right. Some families do not have a next generation to pass things along to. I would hate to think our belongings would end up in a dumpster, but if it does, I will be haunting a few people. 😉 I have a friend who is a bit of a hoarder and she has no qualms about leaving it for her children to sort out. So, I think we do have a responsibility to our families to be reasonable in our expectations. I donate a lot more to charity shops these days.

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  3. a lovely post, Maggie. i, too, have started passing along sentimental things to my children like photographs and jewelries. each piece has a story to tell which are priceless. 🙂

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  4. It sounds like you’ve taken your grandmother’s role of family historian and caring for the treasures. After my father died, I was overwhelmed by photos, vinly records, documents, and my mother’s large collection of angel figurines.The biggest treasures were dad’s letters from Vietnam and Cuba. Afer years of sorting and organizing, I have come to love these sentimental items more than I ever imagined. We are both rich in legacy.

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    1. It is a huge responsibility and overwhelming is such a perfect way to describe those initial feelings. I do love the legacy they hold although it takes a while to appreciate them fully.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. A lovely post.
    Sentimental items… scraps of paper scribbled with misspelt messages of love, and many home made gift shyly given by my young students. Old dictionary, a gift from granddad, letters full of humour and love from dad, mum’s intricate embroidery carefully framed, and….the list, the sentiments, and the memories they invoke goes on!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. All the items you have from family members are precious but the letters must be so special! They are the voice of your grandmother and those she corresponded with. I hope you find your grandfather’s diary too.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It is so true. When I read the letters and see her handwriting, I hear the words in her voice. I only wish my children could have heard it, too.


  7. What a treasure trove of memories and keepsakes from your family! It’s good to have remembrances from our relatives, I think. I have lots, but I have no idea if my girls or grandkids would even want any later on to keep.
    I find it too hard to even think about throwing any of it away, though.
    And to add to all this, I’ve gone to yard sales and estate sales and bought some of their memories, too. I feel like I’m rescuing them, and imagine what their stories would be.
    Thanks for sharing yours. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am happy to hear you are a fellow rescuer! I hate to see cast off items and sometimes they find a home with me. It is difficult to know what to do with the memorabilia we keep. That’s why I decided to start talking to my children about it now. If they are not interested, maybe I can find them a loving home. Thanks for reading and commenting! ❤️

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